Sincerely Carolina

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Gettin' Jiggy in the Burgh

by caroline

What a great weekend! Look at that gorgeous Team Shannon up there! ;)

Yesterday my dad, brother, Luke, and sister, Amanda, and her fiance, Anthony, and I ran the Pittsburgh Half Marathon relay and it was AWESOME!!

The fun started out on Saturday with the GNC Live Well Pittsburgh Health and Fitness Expo. Boo-yah! I love this stuff. I have so much fun just walking around and checking out all of the health and wellness products, running gear, and yummy food samples:

One of my favorite parts are all of the quirky race t-shirts, stickers, magnets, hats and other gear. Like, this inspirational one from RunGirlRun

… the funny ones …

… And the downright honest ones …

Front:

Back:

We also had an opportunity to spot our names on a wall that listed the more than ? runners who participated in the Pittsburgh Marathon. Half Marathon and Relay races. I made it easy for you to find me — can you spot my name?

We also had an opportunity to sign up for a gait analysis by Nike experts. I strapped on their Nike Free shoes — yes, in my dress and all! — and started running.

Once I stopped running, my friend, Andy, went over, well, all of the things that are a little effed up with my feet. For example, I pronate — a lot. And I need to learn to shorten my stride to avoid heel striking which can lead to hip and knee pain. I've had plenty of experts tell me this before and it always makes sense, but even after giving it a shot I tend to fall back into my old ways. But this time I am committed to working harder at these pointers. I really think they can help with my running performance.

Andy informed met that because of my tendency to pronate I should give the LunarGlide+ 2 a shot. I've always been an Asics girl, but I have to admit — these guys felt really nice. These were specially designed for the marathon. Aren't they cute? My brothers and dad each picked up a pair, but I decided to wait. If I spring for 'em, I'm going for the lime green ones.

The ABSOLUTE BEST part of the expo ….???? We met Jeff Galloway!!!! OMG!!!!! My sister and I were completely geeked-out excited. He was so sweet and didn't make fun of me the least bit for nearly peeing myself in his presence.

As we were leaving the expo, they were handing out sandwiches and the boys each picked one up, so we decided to sit outside for a bit. It was a gorgeous evening!

The view …

… the crew.

After that, we headed home for a pasta dinner and early night to bed. I actually slept horribly, but I managed to spring out of bed for our 5 a.m. wake up call. We all were out the door and on our way to the race by 5:30. My sister kicked off the race, passing off to Anthony, who passed off to my dad. Here I am (yes, the palest gal in the bunch), waiting for my dad to bring it on in:

Here he comes!

Hey, dad, over here …

Home stretch:

We passed the "baton" — which was actually a slap bracelet (kids of the 80s … you'll remember these) — and exchanged a quick low five (as opposed to the more energetic high five). Time for me to take off!

The legs of the race went like this: 5.4 miles (Leg 1), 4.8 miles (Leg 2), 4.8 miles (Leg 3), 6.2 miles (Leg 4) and 5 miles (Leg 5), with me running the fourth leg of the race.

I felt good, but I found myself holding back a lot. My biggest mistake? Not preparing for my part of the course. As I was running, I realized that my lack of knowledge for what was to come was really causing me to fear what was waiting up ahead. With every hill, I thought, "What if there's another one to come?" I have definitely learned my lesson: Go walk the course before a race, or at least map it and check out the elevation. One of my biggest peeves is running and not knowing where I am going, and I should have known I would feel the same way with this course.

But, alas, we must learn!

My section of the course was great and the people cheering were even better. I found myself running and wishing for an opportunity to experience the whole course. Even though I grew up and lived in Pittsburgh for most of my life, I can't imagine the various cultures one must have an opportunity to experience as he or she runs through all of the different neighborhoods. Some day maybe!

Our team ran an overall time of 3:33:20, placing 28th out of 554 mixed/coed relay teams. That means we placed in the top 5%! Not too shabby, huh?

Jeffrey Eggleston, who won the marathon, was actually brought on as a pace-setter, but broke away from the lead pack at the 24-mile mark to grab himself a victory with a final time of 2:16:40. The first place female was Bekele Delelecha of Ethiopia with a time of 2:35:34. Way to rock it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend and, believe it or not, the race left me wanting to do more, more, more! I'll keep you posted on what's to come next.

I'm curious: Do you enjoy competitive racing — biking, running, walking, etc.? If so, what's your favorite part of the races?